The only survivor of an attack on an Idaho family 10 years ago is expecting a child in March.
“I almost feel like this is a miracle baby,” Shasta Groene, 18, told KHQ-TV. “It’s something that’s going to change my life for the better.”
She also said she’s still working on finding a path forward.
“I’m getting there,” she said. “And I feel a peace in my life that I’ve never felt before.”
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In May 2005, Joseph Duncan broke into the Groene family’s Coeur d’Alene home, fatally bludgeoning 13-year-old Slade Groene, his mother Brenda Groene and her boyfriend Mark McKenzie.
Duncan abducted Shasta, then 8, and Shasta’s brother, 9-year-old Dylan. Duncan killed Dylan in front of Shasta at a camp in Montana.
Shasta was rescued when Duncan took her to a restaurant in Coeur d’Alene, where a waitress recognized Shasta and called police.
“There were years and years where I felt that what happened was my fault,” she said. “Like I could have done something to change what happened. I had my innocence taken from me. I felt really ashamed of that.”
The crime and trial created intense news coverage.
“I couldn’t really live my life or go out without someone recognizing me,” Groene said. “Everywhere I went it was ‘Oh, there’s Shasta Groene,’ as if I were famous, and I didn’t like that. I was like ‘I’m a normal girl, treat me like a normal girl.’ ”
She said that wore her down, and in February 2014 she landed in juvenile detention on a drug-related crime. She said the 12-month sentence saved her live.
“I don’t know where I’d be,” she said. “I don’t know if I’d be alive.”
During that time, she met new friends and her fiancé. When she got out she decided to start a new life in southern Idaho.
She calls herself a survivor who won’t allow the tragedy to define her. And that’s the message she had for Duncan.
“I’d want him to know that he doesn’t control me, and he doesn’t control how I feel,” she said. “He’s the person who took away my family and my innocence, but I don’t ever really think about him. It’s just my family.”
In 2008, Duncan was sentenced in federal court to death for the kidnapping and killing of Dylan Groene, and his appeal was later rejected. He was convicted of the other killings in state court.
Duncan has also been sentenced to two life terms in California state court for torturing and killing a 10-year-old boy in 1997.
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